Pesticides and fungicides are often the farmer’s main means of crop protection. However, with more restriction being put in place on the use of these products, and the development of fungicide-resistance among pathogens, alternative protection measures need to be explored. Intercropping has many benefits, among one is the potential to reduce pests and diseases, and could thus be a alternative disease management practice. This MSc thesis project will focus on the potential of a potato-based intercrop system for pest and/or disease suppression. We will explore how intercropping affects different stages of the epidemiology, and which mechanisms play a role in disease suppression. Students can participate in a planned field experiment to monitor various aspects of pest and/or disease in potato.
In this project you will explore the potential of intercropping potato for pest/disease control. The current aim of the project is to focus on Phytophthora infestans, but we are open to include other diseases or pests (e.g. Colorado potato beetle, aphids, Alternaria), depending on your interest. Different aspects of the disease can be measured, for example incoming spores, disease progress or disease severity. Aspect of the canopy with reference to disease can be measured, such as microclimate, or the morphological or physiological characteristics of the potato plants.